Karnataka has been hit with its fourth consecutive year of drought. Due to the lack of highly anticipated pre-monsoon rainfall the state now lies in a crisis along with many other states that are facing a scarcity of water.
The state has faced multiple droughts since 2000, in fact the data recorded by the state’s Natural Disaster Monitoring cell states that 2001 to 2015 only the coastal areas received ample rainfall and are exempted from the drought affected area.
Drinking water is scare and hence the government has declared 3122 regions to be severely affected by this scarcity. Almost 80% of the drought hit areas have very low ground water levels. The worst of these cases have been reported in Bagepalli, Chikkaballapura, Sidlaghatta, Bangarpet and Kolar areas.
Schools had to remain closed for days because water wasn’t available for basic sanitation purposes. New wells were dug to extract ground water. The water crisis is at an all-time high in Karnataka. While the irrigation budget allocation has daftly increased from 1600 crores in 2002 to 16,000 crores in 2018-19 yet only 30% of the state is irrigated leaving the remaining 70% dependent on rainfall.
The dams built to store and supply water have been drying up, the water supplied to the city of Udupi at the Baje Dam on Swarna River has reached an alarming low leaving citizens dreadful of an acute water shortage. Shivamogga city is also expected to face a major water shortage as the Tunga dam seems to be low on water.
To alleviate the crisis, the government is expectedly awaiting a confirmation from Maharashtra state government to sanction water supplies to the northern part of the state. Another plan to tackle the ongoing drought is the introduction of cloud seeding, a process in which clouds are sprinkled with chemicals which help them produce precipitation and eventually pour down as rainfall. This project will cost the government a steep 91 crores.
While the monsoons seem to be deficit this year too, the state plans on creating long term solutions instead of relying on such short term ones.